Travel

Dispatches from Baja:

Where the Desert Meets the Sea

In partnership with our friends at
the Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas

Costa Palmas is the escapist yin to the hectic yang of Cabo. And like all great couples, one complements the other. Cabo has the buzz and glitz that fuel a high-energy holiday, but Costa Palmas is another world entirely: a quiet, soothing counterbalance of wellness and calm. All 1,000 acres overflow with arid beauty, quiet tranquility, and the impeccable service we’ve come to associate with the Four Seasons. And if abundant nature and two miles of sugar-fine sand juxtaposed with the Sierra de la Laguna backdrop aren’t enticing enough, consider this: The beach at Costa Palmas—unlike the beach in practically all of Cabo—is actually swimmable. (Currents in most parts of Cabo make swimming almost impossible.) We thought it was time for an updated Baja playbook, so take our advice: Dress up and drive into Cabo for dinners that drift into the early hours. But spend your days counting starfish on the desert-island-style beach of Costa Palmas. They say opposites attract, and in this case, they absolutely do.

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  1. The Four Seasons Resort

    Los Cabos at Costa Palmas

    The Four Seasons has a knack for capturing the essence of a place. At the Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas, a bevy of architects, designers, and contractors have managed to complement the rugged surroundings with a series of noncompeting, low-lying structures that blend into the arid, dusty landscape. The golden desert light, the salt-and-sage breeze, and the sheer mysticism that has long engulfed the Sea of Cortez permeate the indoor-outdoor style of the property. Every detail—the clean lines, earthy palette, the natural materials—serves to amplify the desolate beauty of this slice of the cape.

  2. There are only 141 guest rooms and twenty-three suites, so a stay here feels secluded—and blissfully quiet. Local textiles add earthy color, varied texture, and oodles of personality to the serene, travertine-accented rooms, but the star is, of course, the ocean. Less than twelve steps from each balcony is a sea so blue that it bleeds into the sapphire horizon all day—until sunset, when the sky is streaked with crimson and the craggy Sierra de la Laguna mountains are cast in sharp relief.

  3. THE OASIS SPA

    The Four Seasons is renowned for its sumptuous spas—rightly so. And the Baja iteration overdelivers. First off, the product offering is right up our clean, sustainably made alley, with Tata Harper and Odacité leading the charge. And then come the treatments. Massages, facials, you-name-it-they’ve-got-it all happen in the spacious Oasis Spa. Standout experiences include the Mother Earth treatment, which involves a massage, a warming botanical body wrap, and acupressure on the face. Tata Harper facials feature wildflower-scented oils and potions, all handcrafted on a family farm in Vermont. The postfacial glow after an hour of cupping and masking with those botanical-charged products is next-level.

  1. Four Seasons Resort

    Los Cabos at Costa Palmas

    The Four Seasons has a knack for capturing the essence of a place. At the Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas, a bevy of architects, designers, and contractors have managed to complement the rugged surroundings with a series of noncompeting, low-lying structures that blend into the arid, dusty landscape. The golden desert light, the salt-and-sage breeze, and the sheer mysticism that has long engulfed the Sea of Cortez permeate the indoor-outdoor style of the property. Every detail—the clean lines, earthy palette, the natural materials—serves to amplify the desolate beauty of this slice of the cape.

  2. Lake Tahoe
    Lake Tahoe
    Lake Tahoe
    Lake Tahoe
    Lake Tahoe
    Lake Tahoe
    Lake Tahoe
  3. THE OASIS SPA

    The Four Seasons is renowned for its sumptuous spas—rightly so. And the Baja iteration overdelivers. First off, the product offering is right up our clean, sustainably made alley, with Tata Harper and Odacité leading the charge. And then come the treatments. Massages, facials, you-name-it-they’ve-got-it all happen in the spacious Oasis Spa. Standout experiences include the Mother Earth treatment, which involves a massage, a warming botanical body wrap, and acupressure on the face. Tata Harper facials feature wildflower-scented oils and potions, all handcrafted on a family farm in Vermont. The postfacial glow after an hour of cupping and masking with those botanical-charged products is next-level.

  4. Lake Tahoe
    Lake Tahoe

EAT

This is a seafood place, naturally. The Sea of Cortez supplies many of the menu items at the restaurants, while the acres of organic vegetable gardens fill in the gaps. El Puesto specializes in ceviche—arguably the most refreshing, zesty bowl of protein around. We’re partial to a seat at the simple bar and a serving of whatever was caught that morning, with a generous mound of guacamole and chips for lunch. For dinner, the Greek cuisine at Estiatorio Milos—we’re talking marinated feta, grilled fish, and heaping plates of crunchy cucumber and tomato salad—lends itself well to the steamy Baja climate.

  1. LOS CABOS

    Costa Palmas is really a self-contained, no-need-to-leave vacation spot with a golf course, swimming pools, and two miles of powdery sand and swimmable waters. But if you do want to venture across the dunes, back into the Cabo fracas, there are several gems worth the drive.

  2. FLORA FARMS

    Flora’s Field Kitchen Restaurant at Flora Farms is our favorite spot in Los Cabos for freshly foraged and organically grown food. The ride there is a bumpy one, over miles of meandering dirt track, but keep going. Once you pull up, the picture-perfect, bougainvillea-laden charm of the place signals instant calm. Meals are served in the open-air restaurant facing the gardens. If you’re maxed out on Mexican cuisine, this is the spot to order…whatever you want. It’s all fantastic. But we recommend taking advantage of all the vegetable sides, grown right in front of you. If it’s breakfast you’re after, the sticky buns are the best we’ve had, and the cold-pressed juices hit the spot. Wander around the gardens before making a beeline for the Mexican soaps and candles at nearby Anne Sidora.

  3. EL WINE BAR Y CAFE

    El Wine Bar y Café is a few steps from the Flora’s Field Kitchen and serves up frothy cappuccinos by day and superb wines by the glass (or the bottle) come afternoon. Take a seat at the bar and sample a few glasses before choosing a special bottle to take home.

  4. ARTESANOS

    The ceramics in this part of the world live up to their reputation. On each visit, we vow not to buy any more rainbow serving platters or monochrome Oaxacan-style coffee cups, but when it comes to Mexican ceramics, we’re moths to a flame. Come dinnertime, you’ll find us furtively turning over plates and combing espresso cups for a signature or workshop stamp that might indicate their origin. But the good stuff isn’t as readily available as you might think. Unless you know where to go, that is. Perched on the edge of the Transpeninsular Highway, Artesano’s warehouse is stuffed to the brim with enough Mexican-made décor and crockery to fill a sprawling hacienda. Bring pesos (no credit cards accepted) and wet wipes (the stock is dusty) and prepare to load the trunk with intricate hand-painted bowls and delicate ceramics for less than two dollars a piece.

  1. Lake Tahoe
    Lake Tahoe
    Lake Tahoe
    Lake Tahoe
  2. LOS CABOS

    Costa Palmas is really a self-contained, no-need-to-leave vacation spot with a golf course, swimming pools, and two miles of powdery sand and swimmable waters. But if you do want to venture across the dunes, back into the Cabo fracas, there are several gems worth the drive.

  3. FLORA FARMS

    Flora’s Field Kitchen Restaurant at Flora Farms is our favorite spot in Los Cabos for freshly foraged and organically grown food. The ride there is a bumpy one, over miles of meandering dirt track, but keep going. Once you pull up, the picture-perfect, bougainvillea-laden charm of the place signals instant calm. Meals are served in the open-air restaurant facing the gardens. If you’ve maxed out on Mexican cuisine, this is the spot to order…whatever you want. It’s all fantastic. But we recommend taking advantage of all the vegetable sides, grown right in front of you. If it’s breakfast you’re after, the sticky buns are the best we’ve had, and the cold-pressed juices hit the spot. Wander around the gardens before making a beeline for the Mexican soaps and candles at nearby Anne Sidora.

  4. EL WINE BAR Y CAFE

    El Wine Bar y Café is a few steps from the Flora’s Field Kitchen and serves up frothy cappuccinos by day and superb wines by the glass (or the bottle) come afternoon. Take a seat at the bar and sample a few glasses before choosing a special bottle to take home.

  5. ARTESANOS

    The ceramics in this part of the world live up to their reputation. On each visit, we vow not to buy any more rainbow serving platters or monochrome Oaxacan-style coffee cups, but when it comes to Mexican ceramics, we’re moths to a flame. Come dinnertime, you’ll find us furtively turning over plates and combing espresso cups for a signature or workshop stamp that might indicate their origin. But the good stuff isn’t as readily available as you might think. Unless you know where to go, that is. Perched on the edge of the Transpeninsular Highway, Artesano’s warehouse is stuffed to the brim with enough Mexican-made décor and crockery to fill a sprawling hacienda. Bring pesos (no credit cards accepted) and wet wipes (the stock is dusty) and prepare to load the trunk with intricate hand-painted bowls and delicate ceramics for less than two dollars a piece.

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